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Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Utah Utes forward Donnie Tillman (3) breaks for the ball as center Jayce Johnson (34) blocks Brigham Young Cougars guard Connor Harding (44) at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — On June 7, the Utah men’s basketball program announced that forward Donnie Tillman would be taking a leave of absence and miss the 2019-20 season to be with his mother as she deals with significant health problems.

At the time, it was seen as a big loss for the Runnin’ Utes, with Tillman being the reigning Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year. Nevertheless, it seemed possible Tillman would return for the 2020-21 campaign, even if coach Larry Krystkowiak thanked the Michigan native for his contributions to the program.

Then, on June 10, college basketball reporter Jeff Goodman tweeted that Tillman would be transferring, and on Thursday, numerous reports surfaced that he was on a visit to Rutgers in New Jersey.

Tillman retweeted four tweets indicating he was on a visit to Rutgers.

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Before news of Tillman’s visit to Rutgers broke, he told the Deseret News via Twitter direct message regarding Utah’s June 7 announcement, “I never said leave of absence.”

New Jersey-based reporter Brian Fonseca reported in his story on Tillman’s visit that Tillman’s mother lives in Las Vegas (Tillman finished his high school career at Findlay Prep there).

Attempts to reach Tillman Friday were not successful.

Prior to the announcement that Tillman would be taking a leave of absence, he had put his name in the NBA draft and had a workout with the Utah Jazz before withdrawing by the May 29 deadline to maintain college eligibility.